News: MindFreedom Update - 5 February 2004
Victory! Joan T. is Free of E.C.T.!
No More Forced Electroshock for 60-Year-Old
New York Woman.
Attorney Says Joan "Expressed Delight!"
Today, 5 Feb., attorney Dennis Feld announced that his client Joan T. is
free from any further electroshock, also known as electroconvulsive therapy or
Less than two months ago, on 11 Dec., MindFreedom announced a campaign to
ask Gov. George Pataki to stop the forced electroshock of Joan T., who is 60
The State of New York's Pilgrim Psychiatric Center had administered 180
weekly involuntary electroshocks to Joan T., and was asking the court to let
them give 52 more -- another year's worth of forced shock -- over Joan T.'s
clear and repeated objections.
Attorney Dennis Feld from Mental Hygiene Legal Service went to court for
Joan T. MindFreedom helped locate expert witnesses, and alert the public.
Mr. Feld announced today that Joan T. had reached an agreement with Pilgrim
that they would not give her any more forced shock. One argument: A break in the
electroshock did not result in the rapid and dangerous decline that the State of
New York had predicted.
Electroshock involves running an electrical current through the brain of a
The victory letter from Mr. Feld thanking those who assisted his client is
below. Mr. Feld said,
"timely assistance and support... likely saved the mind and perhaps the life
of Joan T."
David Oaks, Director of MindFreedom, said, "Mr. Feld defends forced shock
cases like he does a death penalty case, and he ought to be deeply thanked. But
this is about more than a court of law. Whenever the court of public opinion
finds out about forced electroshock, we see that 99 percent of the public
passionately supports freedom. Forced electroshock is torture and ought to end
To find out more about MindFreedom and join see
BELOW is thank you letter today from attorney Dennis Feld:
State of New York Mental Hygiene Legal Service
Appellate Division of the Supreme Court
Second Judicial Department
Re: Joan T.
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
Kim Darrow and I wish to inform you that the forced shock case of Matter of
Joan T., has been favorably resolved by Pilgrim Psychiatric Center having agreed
in a written Stipulation filed with the Appellate Division, Second Department,
not to enforce the Order of Suffolk County Supreme Court which granted the state
hospital the authority to administer 52 shock treatments to Joan T.
As you know, Joan T. had already endured 180 shocks in the past 3 years.
Pilgrim had argued before Supreme Court that Joan T. needed this course of
maintenance shock in order to control her behavior and maintain her fragile
mental state. The state had asserted that Joan T. would probably need
maintenance shock for the rest of her life on a once a week basis and asked the
hearing court to accept the proposed 52 shocks as a narrowly tailored treatment
If you recall we obtained a stay of the Supreme Court Order pending the
outcome of the appeal. It was during this stay that Pilgrim Psychiatric Center
realized that its predictions that Joan T.'s condition would rapidly and
dangerously decline without weekly ECT were in serious error. We further believe
that it was made clear to Pilgrim from the brief we filed with the Appellate
Division that much more harm will be done this patient than good if they follow
this course of weekly ECT.
The case was to be argued on February 17, 2004 but the appeal now has been
withdrawn based on the above stipulation. Your timely assistance and support
helped bring about this ultimate result and in our opinion, likely saved the
mind and perhaps the life of Joan T. Indeed, our attorney assigned to Joan T.'s
unit reports that Joan T. expressed delight when told she no longer will be
subjected to shock.
Once again, thank you for all your assistance.
News release by:
MindFreedom Support Coalition International.
United Action for Human Rights.
"Today, psychologists have a favorite work and
word is 'maladjusted.' The salvation of the
lies in the hands of the creatively
- Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.